*Photo credit: Chiefs.com
Growing up, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson became accustomed to life in the foster care system. Both of his parents were in jail, and moving from foster home to foster home seemed normal to him. Even though they were incarcerated, Wilson felt lucky that his parents still wanted to be a part of his life. He also felt lucky because of two amazing foster families – the Baileys and the Browns – who cared for him and provided the structure and guidance he needed. Recently, Wilson shared his story of growing up in the Florida foster care system in The Players’ Tribune, a new media company founded by Derek Jeter that provides athletes with a platform to connect directly with their fans, in their own words.
Wilson also recalls how his dad put a football in his hands at a young age with the hopes that sports could lead to a better life for his kids. After that, football became Wilson’s outlet for when things got tough, and his success on the field earned him a scholarship to play football at Georgia State.
Wilson’s sisters had also spent years in foster care, but they were no longer eligible for scholarships from the state after they reunited with their parents. Wilson wanted to help them get to college, but he didn’t have the funds. After signing with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, he had the resources to give back to countless other children who were just like him. Wilson created a foundation to offer scholarship programs to kids who spent at least two years in foster care but didn’t age out of the system. He hopes to inspire children and youth to believe that where they come from doesn’t determine where you end up.
Read the entire article written by Albert Wilson in The Player’s Tribune: I’m a Foster Kid in the NFL
Foster care is a safe place that gives a child and his or her birth family an opportunity to resolve conflicts or disruptions and learn healthy skills so the child can return home. Foster parents provide a safe and caring environment, and help ensure the child receives the education, medical care and support they need to thrive. They also play an important role in helping children recover from the trauma and/or neglect they have experienced. More foster parents are needed in every community so that children can remain close to what is familiar to them, including their family and school. More than half of children who enter foster care are eventually safely reunited with their families. Learn more about becoming a foster parent, or contact a Community Resource Specialist near you!